Perfect Day’s animal-free dairy protein earns Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status

13 May 2020

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a “no objections” letter for the animal-free dairy company Perfect Day’s β-lactoglobulin protein. The letter certifies that the protein has attained Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status.

This whey protein is a flora-based replication of the bovine-based β-lactoglobulin protein. It is made from the fermentation of the genetically modified trichoderma reesei yeast strain. After the yeast ferments, the protein is extracted via the aid of a centrifuge and then combined with water and fat to create a milk-like product for use in dairy products.

Perfect Day’s animal-free dairy protein earns Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status
Photo Courtesy of Smitten Ice Cream

Though GRAS is a voluntary designation for companies to pursue, this status is a milestone for companies with novel ingredients or lab-based formulations that companies want to assure consumers through government backing that there is a reasonable certainty that it won’t cause harm.

According to Perfect Day, “β-lactoglobulin produced by fermentation is identical to commercially available bovine-produced β-lactoglobulin.” By issuing the notification with “no questions,” the FDA is signaling that it agrees with the company’s assessment.

Although this approval took nearly a year for the company to receive, its arrival is no surprise. Last year, Impossible Foods received GRAS status for its soy leghemoglobin that creates the burger’s characteristic “bloody” look. Nor will these two companies likely be the last to receive this status as startups like animal-free egg protein producer Clara Foods look to microbial fermentation for a more sustainable solution to produce animal proteins without the animal.

Now that Perfect Day’s central protein ingredient has its GRAS status, the company will likely look toward expanding its animal-free dairy products. Last December, the California-based company closed a $140 million funding round with the intention of accelerating business growth, ramping up production capacity, and increasing its product portfolio. This funding round brought the company’s total funding to $201.5 million.

However, the company will only be able to expand so far. In the FDA approval letter, the governmental regulatory agency specifically prohibits some uses for the protein. The letter said lab-fermented β-lactoglobulin is “not intended for use in infant formula or in products subject to regulation by the United States Department of Agriculture.”

With infant formula off the table, the company will likely focus on more mainstream dairy products like cheese, milk, yogurt and ice cream. Last summer, the company’s first commercial product - animal-free ice cream - appeared on its website. The ice cream came in three flavors: Milky Chocolate, Vanilla Salted Fudge and Vanilla Blackberry Toffee. Despite a $20 per pint price tag, the lab-grown ice cream sold out in 24 hours.

Just this week, Perfect Day announced it teamed up with Silicon Valley’s Smitten Ice Cream to offer $12 pints in four flavors: Brown Sugar Chocolate, Fresh Strawberry, Root Beer Float and Coconut Pecan. Clearly there is interest in the company's animal-free dairy products so whatever the company produces next, will likely also grab consumer attention.

Related news

Two plant-based investment arms are created and invest in ice cream

Two plant-based investment arms are created and invest in ice cream

28 Jul 2020

Two plant-based startups have migrated into the ranks of venture capitalists. Perfect Day recently created The Urgent Company in order to develop CPG products from its animal-free dairy proteins, and Jason Karp, the co-founder of Hu snacks started Huma...

Read more 
Pasture-raised egg producer Vital Farms files for IPO

Pasture-raised egg producer Vital Farms files for IPO

22 Jul 2020

Pasture-raised egg company Vital Farms filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to raise up to $100 million in an initial public offering. The company plans to use the symbol VITL on the NASDAQ New York stock exchange.

Read more 
Danone rejects claim that its infant formulas contain toxic substances

Danone rejects claim that its infant formulas contain toxic substances

15 Jul 2020

After industry watchdog group Foodwatch released a report last October that aromatic mineral oils (MOAH) were found in 16 infant formula brands, including Danone’s Gallia Galliagest Lactose-free Growing-up product, the French manufacturing giant recent...

Read more 
Follow your Heart releases dairy-free feta

Follow your Heart releases dairy-free feta

13 Jul 2020

This month, Follow Your Heart released its Dairy-Free Feta Crumbles Cheese Alternative, the first dairy-free feta cheese option to arrive on grocery store shelves in the United States.

Read more 
La Colombe Coffee Roasters introduces draft chocolate milk

La Colombe Coffee Roasters introduces draft chocolate milk

12 Jun 2020

The company known for portable cans of ready-to-drink coffee has entered a new segment: chocolate milk. Made with lactose-free milk, the draft version of a childhood favorite is crafted with real cocoa and then infused with nitrous oxide to imbue that ...

Read more 
Exploring different approaches to lactose-free dairy

Exploring different approaches to lactose-free dairy

17 May 2020

Demand for lactose-free dairy is on the rise around the world, and manufacturers have several options available to them to tap into this growing trend.

Read more 
Plant-Based butter: the new star in the dairy aisle

Plant-Based butter: the new star in the dairy aisle

8 May 2020

First, there was meat, then there was milk. Now, butter is shaping up to be the new darling of the plant-based offerings as consumers look toward more sustainable alternatives for their diets.

Read more 
Catered foodservice meals in the UK to have 20% less meat

Catered foodservice meals in the UK to have 20% less meat

24 Apr 2020

Public sector caterers serving schools, universities, hospitals and care homes have pledged to reduce the amount of meat served on their menus by 20%. There is simultaneously a focus on reducing overall red meat offerings.

Read more 
Hochdorf reports year of transformation

Hochdorf reports "year of transformation"

26 Mar 2020

2019 was a year of transformation for the Hochdorf Group, it says, caused in particular by acquisitions in recent years that did not develop as hoped.

Read more 
Novozymes launches lactase enzyme

Novozymes launches lactase enzyme

25 Mar 2020

Novozymes is launching Saphera Fiber, a new lactase enzyme to increase the content of fibres while also reducing sugar in fermented and non-fermented dairy products.

Read more